Definition of thumbscrew in English:



  • 1usually thumbscrewsAn instrument of torture for crushing the thumbs.

    • ‘There are iron thumbscrews, head squeezers, stretching racks, and interrogation chairs with spikes, many of which were used during the Spanish Inquisition.’
    • ‘For some reason they have also chosen to crank the thumbscrews with an added splash of vindictiveness.’
    • ‘People who would normally abhor applying the thumbscrews earnestly debated whether the risks of further atrocities justified brutal treatment of suspected terrorists.’
    • ‘No, U.S. attorneys did not use the thumbscrew or the rack, but they employed torture all the same.’
    • ‘The other mutineers, after torture with thumbscrews, were whipped and had ashes, salt and pepper rubbed into their wounds.’
    • ‘It is possible that the thumbscrew, the rack, or physical mutilation such as ear-cropping would not have been considered cruel by our forebears.’
    • ‘One is not bound to regard torture as only present in a mediaeval dungeon where the appliances of rack and thumbscrew or similar devices were employed.’
    • ‘As he was walking past a ship chandler's shop, he was shocked to see handcuffs, leg shackles, and thumbscrews in the window.’
    • ‘Some US commentators are calling for latter-day racks and thumbscrews to jumpstart the stalled investigation into 11 September’
    • ‘Fans of the thumbscrew and the cat o’ nine tails will be dismayed to learn that the nanny state has also outlawed anything that breaks the skin.’
    • ‘And it is the most incredibly dreadful and evil prolonged pain delivery device ever conceived by man since the thumbscrew or the fiction of L. Ron Hubbard.’
    • ‘There were all these intricate diagrams of horrible shackles and thumbscrews.’
    • ‘I'm coming up a bit short this month and the credit card company says that they will have to resort to the thumbscrew and hot irons strategy if I don't cough up.’
    • ‘London is putting the thumbscrews on in a bid to try to get the party around the talks table and ultimately the executive table far quicker than it wants.’
    • ‘I would rather have thumbscrews than campylobacter again.’
    • ‘Ms. Peterson didn't say who had applied the thumbscrews.’
    • ‘I bet the chancellor would like to have a thumbscrew handy.’
    • ‘In actual fact, the Hutchinsons were the side of the family that invented the thumbscrew, while we ourselves are a particularly gallant and honourable lot.’
    • ‘How do we stop from sliding down the slippery slope till we reach the oubliette where lurk the rack, the branding-iron, and the thumbscrew?’
    • ‘Last week, I was predicting that Bush would get his resolution, but that there would be a lot of abstentions, and that no-one would bother to act on it unless he bought out the thumbscrews.’
  • 2A screw with a protruding winged or flattened head for turning with the thumb and forefinger.

    • ‘In the other, a wooden thumbscrew holds the guide in place.’
    • ‘Yes, we even have a tray for the front fan, a 120 mm mounting that has a spring-loaded thumbscrew.’
    • ‘Each chassis is a tool-less design, held together by thumbscrews.’
    • ‘If you're like most Linux users, you never put all the screws back in, so rest assured that this case stays together with just the thumbscrew.’
    • ‘A nice touch, and once you've gotten used to thumbscrews, you can never go back to using Phillips screws to secure your peripherals.’
    • ‘One thumbscrew serves to keep the case closed, but the latches make it unnecessary, unless you're transporting the computer.’
    • ‘The optical drive bay is attached with a pair of Philips screws, while the hard drive bay uses thumbscrews.’
    • ‘In the Weaver-based sight pictured here, windage is adjusted by turning two, locking, Allen-head windage screws opposite the thumbscrew.’
    • ‘The size of the thumbscrew allowed me to get enough torque to secure my PCI cards without a screwdriver - one less hassle for the user.’
    • ‘A nice touch you will probably want to add is thumbscrews in place of the Philips screws for the case sides.’
    • ‘The SN45G thermal solution screws into matching receptacles on the motherboard, using thumbscrews that are permanently attached to the heatsink.’
    • ‘Simply remove the thumbscrew for the card-slot blank you wish to replace with a card, remove the blank, install the card into the motherboard, and secure with a thumbscrew.’
    • ‘As we can see from the rear shot, these panels are removed via thumbscrews and Phillips screws.’
    • ‘With a large thumbscrew, you can adjust the lever pivot in or out and hence vary the leverage ratio.’
    • ‘The V1000 is essentially tool-less, and removal of the side panels require a simple twist on the thumbscrew and unlatching the locking mechanism.’
    • ‘The removable motherboard tray is secured with a single thumbscrew.’
    • ‘A simple thumbscrew secures the cord in place making sure that you have correct length (no more, no less) as not to hinder your play.’
    • ‘The base is inserted into the top of the carrying handle and cinched down with a thumbscrew that goes through a hole in the top of the carrying handle.’
    • ‘There are no thumbscrews used for the Metis, though removal of one Phillips screw allows for full access of the case.’
    • ‘A single thumbscrew may control the focus of both telescopes simultaneously and provision may be made for focusing each separately to allow for varying characteristics in the two eyes.’